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Sub-Irrigated planters(SIP):

Have you ever dipped a paper towel partway into a glass of water and watched the rest of the paper towel slowly absorb moisture? This is called capillary action or wicking. There are many different kind of material have this wicking ability: cotton, nylon , paper...and soil!

SIPs take advantage of soil's ability to draw up and absorb moisture. The planters have a water reservoir at the bottom and the soil acts as straw to slowly pull the moisture up through all the layers of the soil and eventually to the roots.

SIPs have lots of advantages. Firstly they are much more water efficient, since there is no surface evaporation and water is reaching the roots from the bottom instead of the top. This also helps to prevent disease that might occur by getting the plant leaves wet. They save time spent on watering the plants!

I took this project to teach my kid the importance of protecting our environment by reducing the waste by reusing the used water/beverage bottles.

Step 1: Requirements

Beverage/water

bottle(any size)

Scissors/utility knife

Sharp object

Strip of fabric

Potting soil

Seeds

Water

Step 2: Procedure

-Remove lable and clean the bottle

-poke drainage holes in the top third section of the bottle with the sharp object.

-cut the bottle in half

-Invert bottle top

-insert a strip of fabric.

-make sure that fabric is in direct contact with the soil

-fill the bottle with soil

-pre moisten the soil

-plant your seed

- cover the seeds with little soil

-spray little water over it

-watch the growth of the plant!

Step 3:

I have used variety of seeds including fruits, vegetables, herbs and greens including micro-greens.

My observation is that the germination and growth rate of plant is higher in SIPs when compared to the growth in conventional pots.

Some of the plants were transferred to conventional pots for further growth. This includes the tomatoes, chillies, sunflower and lettuce.

The red sunflower was germinated in a SIP and transferred to another big beverage bottle and was fully grown and bloomed indoor in the beverage bottle. The plant was kept in south faced window.

Micro-greens can be grown using similar procedure in water bottles and can be freshly harvested for salad recipes.

This method is a great space saver.

It is very refreshing to watch the plants grow in our vicinity inside the home and it is a great feeling to harvest the ingredients freshly at the time of cooking.

The herbs can be grown all around the year using this method.

Step 4: Pollination

Since these plants were grown indoor in a high rise condo initially it was quiet challenging for the flowers to get pollinated. Later I implemented the hand pollination technique and the outcome was more satisfying.

The technique:

Take a soft brush.

Using the brush very gently rub against the stamen of the male flower. You can see the pollen grains sticking to it.

Then very gently rub the brush against the stigma of female flower so that the pollen gets stick to it.

Repeat the steps with other flowers.

Do it everyday.

Step 5:

The harvest..

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More by Kri Selva:Indoor Gardening - Sub Irrigation Planter using waste water bottles Paper Mache Goldfinch Bird Jack-O-Lantern 
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